COURTESY OF ASSOCIATION OF PACIFIC AND ASIAN WOMEN
The students of the Association of Pacific and Asian Women, also known as APAW, want to prioritize educating the campus about their culture and working to make their school a better, more diverse place.
A small group on campus, APAW is a branch of the Coalition for Women Students that is a “very close-knit, welcoming group,” President Patrice Iglesias said.
Iglesias said the fact that APAW gets to work with all the other branches of CWS allows the club to help more people on campus find their voices.
“This is a great place to house small voices,” Iglesias said. “The other Pacific or Asian groups like the Filipino American Student Association and [Mitamitaga O’Samoa] are bigger and louder, but we’re more relaxed and provide a safe space for those who want to be involved but in a way that is comfortable for them.”
Vice President Camille Naputo learned how to empathize on a deeper level while being a part of this group.
“I’ve gained a wider view of what different people struggle with on a day-to-day basis, and improved my listening skills,” she said.
APAW is the only support group on campus specific to Asian women, Naputo said. Students from any background can learn about the different cultures and values specific to people of Asian-Pacific Islander background.
“I love that through APAW I’m able to bring more awareness to my culture,” Naputo said. “I’m Filipino and live in Hawaii, and through my experiences and my stories, people who’ve never even been to Hawaii can understand my culture in a way they never would have been able to.”
APAW meets at 5 p.m. every other Friday in CUB, Room 414. Meetings are open to anyone of any gender or culture.
“We’re here to support women, not just women of the API background,” Naputo said. “We want to help women realize their potential in whatever they love.”